Twenty years together in a band is pretty damn impressive. Twenty years together for a punk band is a fucking miracle.
For two decades now, the guys in Simi Valley-based punk band Strung Out have been churning out record after record of politically-tinged melodic punk rock, spiked with a bit of hardcore. Strung Out is also one of the few punk bands that happen to find itself in the record collection of black-shirt clad metal kids as well. Having just released Agents of the Underground, their seventh album, the band is about to gas up the bus and heard out on tour.
Frontman Jason Cruz was kind enough to talk to Blurt this week about keeping the band together, Hank William Sr. and Scandinavian hookers.
Congratulations on 20 years. Ever have any idea when you were starting the band that you’d be around this long?
Fat Mike once told me it takes about 10 years to “make it” at whatever you set out to do… Hmmm have I made it yet? If I have where the fuck am I and somebody please save me!
Why do you think you guys have been able to make it for so long when so many other punk bands break up after just a few years?
Because they’re pussies and they never really wanted rock up their ass in the first place, that’s why. If you are doing this, you really have to get a shitty little job to sustain yourself for a bit. Sell your girlfriend and the dog and get to it!
Got to admit, I’m impressed that the band has done so well with little airplay and no absolutely no help from MTV and the like. Why do you think your music resonates so well with people?
I believe it’s because we look so damn goofy and un-cool. I mean who will believe a word the gorgeous kid with Motley Crue hairdo says anyway?
Is there a theme to the songs on Agents of the Underground, your new record?
The theme would have to be of loss and the certainty of re-birth. Loss is a fact of life we seem to be so afraid of and to confront that fact is not always an easy thing to do. The things you do not let go will be ripped away type thing.
Do you still get approached by younger bands who mention that they grew up with your music? Is that ever weird?
Yes (and) it’s weird and I may not have a fat sack sittin’ in a fat car parked in my fat pad but I gots respect and to me that’ll sink ships any day brotha.
So over the past 20 years, did the band ever come close to splitting up?
Twelve times! Each time had to do with a Scandinavian hooker we all loved at one time or another. She played us and left us for the boys in Avenged Sevenfold …Good luck boys!
Any regrets with the band?
I don’t really regret a single thing with this band; it all happened for one reason or another and led me here. I am healthy, I am strong, and I love the new record. Shit like that don’t last so I’m going with it.
In two decade, obviously, you’ve hit some major milestones. As a band, is there anything else you want to be able to accomplish?
Big fat royalty checks when I’m seventy?